Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Day in the Life

The theme of this post concerns the little quirky things that go on as a part of life in Sweden.
  • Apparently milk doesn't undergo the same extensive heat treatment that it gets in the US; it only lasts about a week after you buy it, which I suppose it why it is sold in such small amounts.
  • Everyone here seems to cook at home a lot- from scratch. Part of this is because eating in restaurants is so expensive. There doesn't seem to be a lot of ready-made food here.
  • Swedes in general are pretty quiet (in general, not always) but they're usually pretty nice once you get them talking.
  • Post offices here are not the only places authorized to handle mail and sell stamps- there is a chain of convenience stores that will mail things for you, sell you stamps, and sell you tickets for the various modes of public transport.
  • Most students here don't seem to own cars. People here rely heavily upon public transit and bicycles.
  • Baked goods here don't seem to be made with as many preservatives so they mold a lot faster.
  • Drivers in Uppsala are generally less aggressive and more courteous to pedestrians.
  • Gas here is 4x more expensive than back home.
  • Lots of places here are decorated with furniture/lights/etc. from IKEA!
  • Garbage disposals in sinks are nonexistent. The drains are more like strainers that collect whatever food ends up in the sink and then you have to scoop it out and dispose of it manually. Gross!
  • If you want bags for your groceries, you have to buy them or use the thin plastic ones at the end of the checkout. Also, nobody uses the big metal shopping carts.
  • Cheese popcorn is unheard of here. Sorry, Grandpa!
  • Even in student housing, it's very uncommon to have to share a bedroom with someone else (at least in a roommate situation). 
  • Everyone pays for their own meals/drinks when going out, even when on going out on dates!
  • Sales tax on most things here is 25%!
  • Hedgehogs run wild here! I didn't realize this when I spotted one outside a few weeks ago:
  • There aren't many cows here so a steak dinner can cost up to $40-50 in a restaurant. Even buying ground beef  from the store is expensive.
  • It costs about $2 to mail a postcard internationally.
  • Tea and coffee is serious business over here. There are "fika" breaks every 45 minutes for a lot of classes!
  • There really are a lot of natural blondes here.
  • People answer their phone by saying their name instead of "hello."
  • They show American television and movies here in English but with Swedish subtitles
In other news, since my classes end Nov. 16th, I'm flying home on the 21st. Before that, I have an exam and a presentation to do for my viticulture class. My cousin who teaches English in St. Petersburg is also coming to visit this Saturday and we are planning on attending a traditional Swedish dinner (termed gasque)! More posts to follow shortly.

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